- Arnold and Henry Kriegstein
- ARRSE Rating
- 4 Mushroom Heads
This finely-illustrated 288 page coffee-table book is in essence a catalogue of the Kriegstein collection of Admiralty and other ship models of the period, the largest private collection of its kind in the world, and a way of sharing these fine models, so redolent of the times in which they were built, with a wider audience.
Its principal feature is fine detailed large colour photographs of 27 (plus one late addition in an appendix) ships, yachts, boats and barges, each covered by a short chapter comprising information about the acquisition of each model, provenance, description (including condition and construction), literature referencing it, and any collections it has featured in, often together with interesting historical detail about the subject, the times, the former owners (for it was a tradition that Admiralty Board shipmodels were made by the shipwrights and then given or sold to private collectors, of whom Sir Samuel Pepys was one) or the known or supposed builders.
An enjoyable aspect of the book, from a collector's perspective, is the accounts of how the models passed from collector to collector and then into the hands of the Kriegstein brothers, who appear to have lavished much care and attention not just on forming the collection but on conserving each model.
Other chapters discuss paintings of ship models, ship drawings, the famous Napoleonic-era prisoner of war bone ship models, care and conservation, and also fakes and forgeries. The text is completed by acknowledgement, foreword, introduction, chapter notes and index.
The authors' interest in and love for their subject is evident throughout and even for those without a particular interest in the topic the overall quality of the production makes it a pleasure to read.